For many of us, our daily grind slows down towards the end of the year – the adrenalin isn’t pumping quite so fast and we can jump off the treadmill for a short while. If you are in this position as a parent, then strike while the iron is hot, make hay while the sun shines. Take the opportunity to create some happy memories with your children while you have the time and the energy. Remember that the best gift you can give them is your time and attention. Whether you are at home or away on holiday, here is a little recipe to help you to maximise this time. As I look at my 2016 calendar, I am taking a guess that for most of you that gap will be between 21 December and 2 January, that’s 12 whole days! Whatever you do during this time, ensure you take lots of photographs with your phone along the way, and take both ‘pretty’ and ‘goofy’ shots that you can utilise in the activity on day 4.

Day 1 Go somewhere. Shift physical space and visit a place together that you have never been to before. Whether it is the zoo, a botanical garden, a new nursery with a kids play area, a restaurant, a cycle path in your area, or even a shopping centre you wouldn’t normally visit. Sometimes a change is as good as a holiday and it doesn’t have to be anything expensive. To keep children from getting cabin fever, getting out of the house can be the answer.

Day 2 Play a game together. Go through you collection of family games and play one of them together. If is a short game, play a few rounds. You may need to find a few different games to play if you need to cover various age groups in your family. This is the time of the year when I can put aside three hours to play a game of Monopoly, so my boys might just get their Christmas Wish met. Don’t forget that play is the language of childhood. See my comments on play as the master language in last month’s newsletter here.

Day 3 Create something together. It could be as simple as cooking something, or perhaps doing some kind of craft activity together such as making Christmas decorations, or crackers out of toilet rolls. Whether you make fun out of nothing with food, science or crafts, you will be amazed how your children love being constructive and creative when you are in the equation. How about cooking or baking goodies to incorporate into Christmas gifts. Not all gifts need to be bought. Click here for some new Making Fun Out of Nothing activities and you will also find all the ones from previous holidays.

Day 4: Create a photographic diary of all the lovely things you have done together in the past three days. Let your children help you to put it together and write captions if they are old enough. For the younger ones, they can tell you what to write next to each photograph you include in the photo diary. Repeat the four day cycle three times, but doing different things in each cycle. Every day eat as many meals as you can with each other. Take the opportunity to read your children a story or watch a family movie together. This is also a perfect time to catch up with play dates for your children, and to visit family friends you haven’t seen for ages. At the end of the holiday you want your family to be left with a warm feeling of togetherness. You want to be seen as a hero in your child’s life story. And they will have a photographic diary to prove it. Happy holidays!


Wow! Thanks a million! My mind has been rushing and my heart pounding hard as how to make the best of the holidays with our three girls aged 12, 8 and 4yrs. Your ideas are brilliant, funny affordable and will truely help us bond. Whoop! Whoop! It will be a holiday to remember. A great one!

Happy holidays to you and your family.

Best Regards
Muluwa Mwitanti